At the beginning there was learning – Part I

Some stories we tell about the world are just untrue. Others, much more dangerous ones, are untrue, but well-told. They resonate with our intuitions and preconceptions, and they tend to stick with us like mischievous ghosts. We do all we can to get rid of them. We ritually distance ourselves from them in the introductionsContinue reading “At the beginning there was learning – Part I”

Where is the bird’s song encoded?

I am very bad at remembering and recognizing melodies. It doesn’t hurt too much: I am so amusical that I rarely notice this deficiency. It was a much bigger problem, though, when I was a child – and it’s because I was a birdwatching child. Recognizing birds by their songs was a dramatically hard thingContinue reading “Where is the bird’s song encoded?”

Is the concept of instinct useless?

The concept of instinct lays exactly in the center of my scientific interests. It lays here largely because I was naively assuming that is dead for quite a long time – and is there a bigger pleasure than a dissection of dead ideas? Instinct was declared dead many times and for many reasons – thatContinue reading “Is the concept of instinct useless?”

A mild critique of ethological relevance

When I look through the window of my flat in Warsaw I see a shop. The shop is called Organic; it is full of overpriced linen seeds, nuts and, most interestingly, different kinds of salt. I am not sure in what sense salt can be organic, but I think I know what are the benefitsContinue reading “A mild critique of ethological relevance”